31 December 2009

Watch what you wish for

Notice the change in the blog? Andrew has been helping me with my blog design. I love the one he put up, but a friend has the identical one. One day I'll have something more permanent. You might see a few designs till we come up with the right one. I wish I could design my own header. I'd like to see a curly-haired girl with a laptop, an iPhone, and a caramel latte.

I always wish there were more hours in the day. I finally figured out that I wake up at 4:30 AM almost every day because I wish for it. More hours. This wasn't how I wanted to get it.

So, I've been on the computer. I'm on my second load of laundry. I'm tired. I was surprised to look out and see about a half-inch of snow on the ground, and falling. It's changed over to freezing rain, or sleet. I'm glad I'm not scheduled to be at work till 11:00. Will people cancel their appointments? Will the roads be okay? I guess I'll find out. We have a skeleton crew at work this week. I didn't realize how many stylists were taking time off. It's been fine being there. I need to work.

I did a fun make-over on Tuesday. A client brought in her college-freshman sister, Sarah (I made the name up so I could call her something) for a haircut. Sarah had very thick long hair that she wanted cut to below chin length. She was looking for something edgy, shaggy, stylish. Why didn't I take pictures? It took an hour to cut and the transformation was amazing. She looked like a very cool college kid. Her boyfriend was with her and while my client was being shampooed he asked if anyone could do his hair. I hooked him up with Joyce, who gave him a very cool faux-hawk. As I was finishing Sarah and he was walking towards us to show off his new do, she quietly said, "He stole my haircut thunder". After a moment's thought I said, "you're right". He did. She was no longer the star. What a phrase, 'haircut thunder'. I immediately thought, I have to blog about that. They made the cutest couple with their new look. They both had haircut thunder.

I'm staying in tonight. Rob is coming over, weather permitting. My plan is to grill flat-iron steaks and garlic potato wedges, and make fresh green beans. That is if my grill isn't frozen. I have some new DVD's. A nice, quiet New Year's Eve.

I wonder what 2010 holds in store for us? I'm looking forward to finding out.

Happy New Year, friends!

28 December 2009

The Party's Over

How did it get to be Monday night already? Five days off sounded like forever a week ago. What did I do with my time? I was off on Thursday. I cooked and wrapped presents and just hung out. Friday, Christmas, was spent at my brother and sister-in-laws with my family. Rob came over for a while after driving back from his family. My friend and co-worker Julie came over on Saturday and we hung out all day. Went out to lunch at P.F.Chang's. Shopped at Annapolis Towne Center. Went to Best Buy. Went to Annapolis Mall. Crowds everywhere! We had dinner at her house with her husband and Rob. I made the lasagna and we had Caesar salad and garlic bread. Yum. I spent Sunday morning cleaning up, then Rob and I spent a quiet day together. Today I went to the movies. First I saw 'It's Complicated'. That had me and the audience laughing out loud at times, but there were times I had tears in my eyes. I decided to see another movie when it ended and Avatar was ready to start, so there I went, not knowing anything about it. Wow. What a movie. I'm sure I wouldn't have gone if I knew what it was, but I'm glad I did. It was pretty amazing. Tonight was spent driving to Modell's so Emily could get a new mouth guard, then to the Sportsplex for her indoor field hockey game. So there you have it pretty much in a nutshell. Five days gone in a flash. I work Tuesday, Wednesday and a half-day on Thursday. I'm off Friday and then back to work on Saturday. An easy week, but not as easy as the past one.

Was this a mundane post or what? I vote for yes.

25 December 2009

Merry Christmas

24 December 2009

Thoughts on Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve. I'm home, alone, and happy. That's what matters, right? I spent a busy day visiting first Kit, then my parents. I cut my mom's hair. My sister Lisa was there to visit also. We all went out to lunch. The traffic killed me!

I came home and started cooking, which was very therapeutic. It was a rough night last night and a tiring day. I put together the lasagna that I'll cook on Saturday. Made Fumi salad and hot artichoke dip that I'll bring to my brother and SIL's tomorrow. The house has been silent and very peaceful for hours. The only sound is that of the clothes dryer. The smell is from my new candle that is the BEST ever. Here's that story: I was checking out at Bed Bath and Beyond the other day. I smelled a wonderful smell. I asked about it and the cashier said it could be any of the candles. It was the one right in front of me. I bought a votive. When I got into my car after work, the whole car smelled wonderful from the candle. Today when I opened the BB&B bag, the smell wafted out. I have it burning right now. It's by Yankee Candle and it's GOOD AIR odor eliminating just plain clean. No, this isn't a paid endorsement :)

I need to wrap gifts. Just Emily's. The rest, and there's not many, I'll wrap tomorrow. Emily will go to her dad's in the early afternoon and I'll go to my family at 3:00. If I'm lucky I'll find a movie to go to on my way. There's so many good ones out there. I hope to see at least 5 over the holidays. That's my expensive goal.

Saturday will be spent with my friend Julie. She's the one that set Rob and me up. The guys will be down in the recording studio all day. Julie and I will go shopping and to a movie. I'm bringing the lasagna over for dinner. I was going to make a dessert but I'll bring one of the many sweets given to me by my clients. We'll all have dinner together, watch a movie, etc... It's going to be a great day. Emily will be going to NYC with her father and step mom on Saturday for an overnight. They do that every year. My ex's family lives in Brooklyn. Em and Tony and Maggie usually stay at the Ritz in the city. Skate in Central Park. Go to Tavern on the Green. Not shabby. They always have a good time.

Happy Christmas Eve to all my friends. You mean more to me than you know.

23 December 2009

The day before tomorrow

It's an up and at 'em day. Unfortunately the 'up' started at 4 AM, but I can deal with it. It's the last work day before a 5 day vacation. I'm at Borders drinking a decaf latte. It tastes delicious but it's missing the kick. That's OK. I have lots of caffeine to look forward to in the coming days. I had a few things to buy at Borders and wanted to be here at 8 when they opened. It's quiet. No lines. Empty parking lot. Laptop and latte. What a great way to start the day.

Today is my father's 82nd birthday. I spent some time this morning thinking about his life. He grew up in the tenements in Brooklyn, NY. His father died when he was 6 (I think) and his mother was left with 2 children and no money. His mother was a bitter woman, and my father had a very unhappy childhood. He quit school when he was in 8th grade. Left home at an early age. Later he joined the army and spent time in Korea. He was best friends with my mother's brother, and eventually my parents married. It's not been a good marriage. As I write this, I realize I'm painting a bleak picture. My dad is a people person. He'll schmooze with anyone. They know him at all the local grocery stores, Best Buy, Walmart, the Senior Center, etc. He's very generous. I don't think he's had a happy life. I wish it had been different. I'm glad he's my dad.

My parents and my sibs in April

Well, I'm starting to fade. Sure wish I could have just a little caffeine. I need to get to work so I can be busy.

Happy Wednesday friends!

20 December 2009

No La De Da

I've been thinking of having a new header on my blog. I wonder what it will be?

Just a quick post. It's gorgeous outside and I can't wait to get bundled up and get in the snow. Shovel and sled. The sun is brilliant and the reflection on the snow is amazing. The sky is blue! I think the snow is done falling. Maybe we got 20-something inches? Here's the snow mound on the deck this morning compared to yesterday:


I love how the new snow smoothed the mound out and made it bigger. Soon it's gonna be a snowman. See the blue sky?

Time to put the layers on. I'll be taking new pics.

19 December 2009

Blizzardy Day

What a day. I've been a domestic goddess. What? You're not supposed to call yourself a goddess? OK. It's been a domestic day. I made breakfast for the gang. I made a Texas Sheetcake. I have a double recipe of pot roast in the oven and I've invited a bunch of neighbors over for dinner. The kitchen is clean and I'm finally relaxing. Emily and Phil spent a bunch of time outside. So did Rob. Not me. Not yet. Not today.

Rob shoveled the deck and left this pile to make a snowman. It's gotten taller as the day's gone by.

View from the deck.

Inside looking out.

It takes a real man to wear pink.

Don't they look like an ad for Abercrombie?

Working hard but having fun.

House and cul-de-sac.

What I'm looking at as I blog.

Happy Me!


We're in the midst of a major storm here. Woohoo! I decided to make it a sleep-over weekend. Emily's boyfriend is sleeping on the living room couch and Rob is sleeping on the family room couch. I went grocery shopping yesterday morning before the crowds hit and bought all the ingredients to make The Pioneer Woman's pot roast. I'm thinking of making bread. I bought chicken and shrimp and deli meats and cheeses and ice cream and bagels and chocolate. We have a good hill and sleds and my neighbor's snow blower. I don't think I'll venture outside much. They're calling this a blizzard with high winds and freezing temperatures. Right now it's in the low 20's. I'm the only one up, and it will probably stay that way for a while. Happy me.

17 December 2009

The big reveal

I woke up at 3:00. Laid in bed till 4:00 before turning on the lights. Read for a few minutes. Somtimes I can fall back asleep after reading. Turned off the lights and laid in bed till 5:00. Decided it was a good time to upload the party pics. Blogger says I've used up 84% of the allowable mg of pictures for my blog. I guess that says I've put up a lot of pictures over the years.

I can't believe Christmas is next week. I have a few gifts left to buy. I'll shop this morning and tomorrow morning. I hope that takes care of it. Knowing what to buy is the hard part, but lying in bed has helped me figure out gifts for the few people I buy for. At least I'm using these crazy mornings for something.

It's still the crack of dawn. I think I'll get up and do all my Christmas cards, get ready for work, drive the kids to school, shop, then work 8 hours.

So, here's some pictures. I uploaded the small size since there's so many. I took some and my sister took the rest. Some of the house, some of friends. You'll see Kathy and Karen and Bon. Emily and my sister. Friends and neighbors and co-workers.

Everything is ready and I'm taking a moment to relax.

The happy couple!

So, there you go. The big reveal! Things are going great around here. Busy. Happy. Tired.

Happy Thursday!

14 December 2009


The last couple of weeks have passed in a blur. In a good one. From starting this relationship of mine, to decorating the house and hosting two parties. Now it's time to relax, and shop. The party on Saturday was a success (if I must say so myself). I have great friends and combine that with good food and how can you go wrong? I'm grateful to have a home to host a celebration, and good friends to share it with. Ya know? It was great introducing Rob to my friends and family. Embarrassingly, everyone he met raved about me. Flattering, yes, but too much! I'm not wonderful, and I know it. I try to be a good person, but I'm only human.

We went to my brother and SIL's for Hanukkah yesterday. It was casual and fun and funny. Rob got to meet the local family. Emily brought her boyfriend Phil. The guys had potato latkes for the first time and liked them. What's not to like about fried food? Everyone liked the guys. Again, nothing not to like. Emily's boyfriend is really nice and the two of them laugh and talk all the time. My family is laid-back and quirky (like all families) and they were welcoming and nice to Rob and Phil.

I got into my pajamas at 6:00 tonight. I ate crackers and dip. I've had my laptop on my lap for hours now. It's felt great to just BE.

I meant to post pictures, but this and that got in the way. Stay tuned.

12 December 2009

A quickie

I'm in all-out Cheryl mode. I know I used that phrase the other day. It just seemed appropriate again. I'm caffeined-up with no food. I think I need to fix that or I'll crash before the party begins.

It's a great sunny day out here. The house is sparkling clean. It smells good. I'm happy. The camera is charged-up. I'll post post-party pics soon.

Happy day!

10 December 2009

What a day!

I was in all-out Cheryl mode today. I even amazed myself!

I started my morning by making the bourbon sauce for my meatballs. It's delicious...two cups of bourbon, two bottles of beer, two bottles of chili sauce and 24 ounces of brown sugar, simmered and reduced. Yum. That's refrigerated and waiting to join the meatballs. I drove the kids to school then went to Sam's Club. Then Borders. Then Nordstroms. Then Marshall's, looking for the elusive camisole that's still eluding me. Then I went to the grocery store for hopefully the last time before the party. Then home and cooking. I made a rum cake. I made a cheesecake. I made curried cheese spread. Hot artichoke dip. Spinach cheese balls. Chipped beef dip. I did a lot of dishes. Lots and lots of them. I did laundry in-between. I vacuumed and mopped all the hard floors. Then I made our favorite chicken recipe with the french fried onions, broccoli and potatoes. Then I collapsed and here I sit. What a day!

08 December 2009


Man am I a slacker. 'Tis the season? I've been busy with all kinds of things. Getting the house ready for the holidays. It's done. All decked out. I had my book club holiday get-together on Sunday. Now I'm in all-out mode getting ready for my big holiday party this Saturday night. I have a lot of food shopping and cooking to fit in this week. My lists are made, and I'm not going to stress. I'm expecting at least 40 people. Fun times!

I've not done any gift shopping. This year will be a lean one. I know what I'll be getting for Emily; I just have to buy it. We're having a gift exchange at work. We don't exchange gifts with my family for the most part, so that's easy. And there's really nothing I want. Really, unless someone wanted to buy me a Mac Book Pro, which of course isn't going to happen. Ha ha. So, I'm not so into gifts this year.

I've been spending a lot of time with my new guy. It's been 4 weeks now. I guess it's safe to say he's my boyfriend, although that word seems so foreign to say. He's wonderful. He talks, talks, talks and thinks I'm the best thing that's ever happened to him. He brings his guitar over and sings to me. Can you imagine how romantic that is? Yesterday he sang his newest that he wrote about us. I think I'm a lucky girl. It's still early, and it could come to naught, so I don't want to say too much. He came to my work party on Saturday so everyone got to see the person who keeps a smile on my face. He'll be at my party this Saturday. I think Emily likes him; there's nothing not to like.

Time to get up and going for my 'Monday'. Happy Tuesday to you!

03 December 2009

Thursday, work day

What better thing to do when you wake up at the crack of dawn then write a new post? I had a reprieve for two days and woke up at 6:30. Today was back to the 4's. I'm not sure why. When I open my eyes I hope to see a little light from my windows. I thought I saw it today. I stayed in bed for a while with my eyes closed, hoping to fall back asleep. Finally I looked a the clock and it was 4:34. Oh well, I just stayed in bed with my eyes closed to think. After a while I realized I could/should be doing things as long as I was awake. I worked on the e-vites for my party--setting up reminders. So far I have a definite 38 attending. I updated some financial information on the high school application. Read some e-mail. Soon I'll go downstairs and finish decorating my tree. I got 90% of it done yesterday before work. I put up all my outdoor lights the morning before. That was brrrr. Yesterday after work I had a lot of energy so I went shopping. Spent a bundle at the liquor store. At the party store for the papergoods. Then I went to Kohl's to look for something to wear. I usually wear black or gray slacks to my party and a nice top. I've bought a few tops but not the perfect one yet. I bought a black jersey wrap dress last night, but don't know if I want to wear a dress. Maybe I'll have time to shop before work today. The good thing is that I'm at my skinny weight so shopping is a lot more fun.

I've invited my new 'friend' Rob to my work party on Saturday night. That's a big deal. People want to see who's put this constant grin on my face.

I've said it before; I've been remiss in visiting my blogging friends. I've just been busy and the month will continue that way. I miss you. It's temporary. You're as important to me as if you were a friend that I saw in person. If you lived closer, I'd want you at my party.

30 November 2009

Monday, Monday in a good way

It's about time for a new post. It seems like forever, especially when I compare it to when I was writing almost daily. I'm way behind for the year, but it's one of those things that happens. Ya know? I have no plans of leaving. Back in the day I spent all my time cross-stitching. I loved doing it. Then I got big time into rubberstamping. I was so creative. I never thought the day would come that I'd stop doing it. Last Christmas was the last time I made cards. I loved it, and if I got started right now I know I'd spend every spare minute working on making the most perfect ones I could. I made the decision to simplify ( my version of it anyway) and buy cards this year. So now my time is being spent on other things. It's the same for all of us.

I'm deep into getting ready for parties. I have a busy schedule this month. My work party is this Saturday. My book club holiday meeting is at my house on Sunday. My big holiday party is here the following Saturday night. A baby shower is the next day. The following Sunday is the big cousins Hanukkah party. Somewhere in between those two weekends is my family get-together for Hanukkah. The following weekend is Christmas. I don't know what I'm doing for that.

I've been getting my house ready. Decorating. I should be spending every minute on that, but my weekend has been spent with my new friend. He's wonderful. That's all I'm saying. A big bonus has been spending time with my friend Julie from work and her family. She's who set us up. She's wonderful and I love hanging out with her family. She and I cooked together for the group of us on Saturday night. How cool to be chopping garlic and peeling shrimp with a friend? We all watched a movie afterward. I think Emily would like it there too, and when this busy month is over maybe she'll hang out with us. Julie has a son and nephew that live at home and two daughters who are there a lot.

I've continued to wake up at 4-something every morning. I don't get it, but what can you do? Today is my last day of vacation and starting tonight I'll get back to my usual bedtime. The earlier I go to sleep, the more hours I'll get in before 4 am.

On that note, I'm gonna jump in the shower. I think I'll hang the jingle bells this morning before driving the kids to school.

Happy Monday!

28 November 2009

Deck the halls

Coffee, Christmas and tunes. How 'bout you?

27 November 2009

Happy Vacay

Thanksgiving was wonderful. I'm always so happy to be with my family. It was a feel-good day for all. Here's a long glimpse into our day. I wish the picture quality was better, but... I think if you click on the 'HQ' tab of the video it's a little better.

I got about 4 hours of sleep last night. I'm not even sure I want coffee...afraid it will make me too hyper. You know that mixture of bleary eyes, the sweats and the coffee buzz? Don't think it's for me.

It was very hard to resist going out for the infamous Black Friday, both last night when I stayed up till almost 2, and again when I woke up by 6. I hadn't thought of it before looking at the ads yesterday. Just seeing them gave me a rush and made me want. I'm still here.

The agenda for the day is to start readying my house for Christmas. I have some cleaning up to do before that can begin. Starting with all clean surfaces is the only way to go. I have days off, and that's what I'll be concentrating on. I might check out the weather. A walk this morning would probably do me a world of good.

I took a break and now I'm back. I spent a few hours raking very wet and heavy leaves from my garden and front lawn. The driveway is lined with bags. The dirt is finally exposed and so are the hedges. Maybe with the wind we're having there will be some drying off? Maybe we'll have a break from all the rain we've had? I'm itching to use my new hedge trimmers and get the shrubs ready for lights.

Things are still going good on the other front. You know.

Emily got the job at American Eagle. At least for the holidays. She'll be working 2-10 today, her first ever 8-hour job. She's apprehensive about working such a long day on her feet, but she'll do just fine. We just found out that one of my nephews is working at Oakley in the same mall. Pretty cool. Maybe they can have breaks together.

OK. Time to eat. And drink coffee. And clean. Motivation...please come.

23 November 2009

Here I am

I just clicked on Reader and saw that I'm 173 posts behind. How can that be? How can I ever catch up? The answer is that I can't. I'm sure a lot of us are in that same bind. If you don't read every day, this is what happens. If I don't stop by your blog, I'm still there with you in mind and you know that, right?

It was a good 'weekend' but too short! We have a big break coming up. The salon is closed for 5 days, starting on Thursday. Woo hoo to that! It means that we work today, my Sunday. It's a 3-day workweek, so I'm not allowed to complain and I won't. Well, you know. I'll complain a little. So, Saturday was pretty great. I met my new 'friend' at Borders. Perfect place for me, right? We spent a few hours talking. We had plans with our mutual friends to meet for dinner. We walked around Borders, then Target while we were passing the time. Dinner with friends was great. Here's a funny. While reading the dessert menu, someone at the table said they could use some reading glasses. Our waiter Boris (a made-up name, I'm sure) said they have a basket of readers just for that purpose. No-way. I thought, I have to blog about this. Sure enough, he brought them over. Later I got to thinking they were probably left-behind glasses. Un-sanitized. Glad I didn't need them. I came home afterward and spent some good time with Emily. So all in all, a good night. Yesterday I dropped Emily at her boyfriend's so she could go to church with them, then out on their new yacht. You heard me right. I walked around the marina in his neighborhood for a bit to enjoy the beautiful scenery. I spent a bunch of time with my mom. We had pizza for lunch. Went grocery shopping together. I ran into Sears and bought a new hedge trimmer. Ran into Starbucks and bought this year's Christmas ornaments. Did stuff around her house, etc. It was a nice visit. Just as I was leaving Kit called me up and I drove over to her house to walk with her. We did a 30 minute brisk walk. Perfect. It was time for me to leave to get Emily from the boyfriend's house. I got there at the prescribed time, and immediately got a call from Emily saying they were stuck at the restaurant in Kent Island, waiting for the family friend to pick them up and bring them back to their house. Wah. I had to sit in my cold car in the dark for 45 minutes waiting. Luckily I have my iPhone so I was able to pass the time. Her being so late meant she had to miss the orientation for her new job. Luckily they'll allow her to do it today. Gosh am I rambling here. She was hired at American Eagle for the holiday season. She's going to be great there. They had a group interview. One of the questions they were asked was, what would they say to a parent looking for help with shopping for their child. Emily's first question for them was if they were looking for a complete outfit or separates. Did their child like skinny jeans, favorite boyfriend jeans, boot cut jeans, etc. Did they like to layer their tops, etc. That's my girl. She knows their clothes and could be a poster child for AE. If she turns out to be a good producer, they could keep her on. Anyway, the rest of the night was spent watching TV. Fringe. I don't think I like that show any more. It's too strange and half the time I have to cover my eyes so I don't see the gory stuff.

So, Thanksgiving is upon us. What are your plans? I have some cooking to do, and will go to my cousin's, as usual. If I have my count right, we'll be at least 38 strong. I can't wait.

I plan to be busy in my days off. I have major raking to do. I have to trim all the hedges so I can put the Christmas lights on them. I plan to totally decorate for Christmas. I'll be very busy. Hopefully happy and busy.

With that, I wish you a happy Monday.

20 November 2009

A quick hi on a Friday night

I'm making lunch to bring into work tomorrow. Chicken Corn Casserole. It's one my sister makes, and her family loves it. I bought a rotisserie chicken yesterday and there was way too much leftover for my little family of two. So, work gets lunch. Julie offered to make a salad and Dana's making cookies. Back in the day, we took turns bringing in Saturday lunch. We've discussed doing it again. My salon owner brings in lunch from time to time. It's always a treat to have food provided on a busy Saturday.

It's been a whirlwind week of busy at work. People gearing up for Thanksgiving. Most of my clients seem to be going somewhere. We go to my cousins' house every year, a tradition I love. They live about an hour away. I'm the family carver. Of course. I can't wait till Thursday. I love being with all my cousins, my aunt and uncle and my own family. We're usually a group of at least 38. They have a wonderful house with plenty of room. Everyone brings a dish. Or two. We're a pretty lively bunch.

It seems my new wake-up time is 4:30 AM. I realize I'm awake, but don't open my eyes, hoping I'll fall back asleep. After a while, I'll think, please don't let it be 4:30 when I look at the clock. But it is. It's usually 4:34 or 4:38 or somewhere around there. I wonder why? I just wake up.

I did Bon's hair today. It was great catching up with her. Here we are when I was finished. We're both holding our iPhones :) I took the picture.

Tomorrow morning I do Kathy's hair. I'll see if she'll pose for me. It's great to do my friends' hair. It's more like a play date than work.

Happy Weekend. Time to put the casserole in the fridge and call it a day.

19 November 2009

The real thing

I'm a bad blogger. I'm a bad blogging friend. There. I've said it. I haven't kept up with posting on a regular basis. I haven't kept up with reading your blogs. I've been at Borders for hours now and I've been writing e-mails instead of blogging.

So, yeah, I met a guy. Rob. He seems pretty wonderful. I've had a smile on my face all week long. I was convinced, not willingly, to meet him through one of my co-workers. I went to her house on Saturday to meet him, in a casual setting with her kids and husband and nephew there. I didn't dress up. I wasn't nervous. We hit it off from first sight. We talked for hours. We've e-mailed every day. He's going to meet me at Borders on Saturday. We'll probably spend our time grinning.

I've been preoccupied with a book I couldn't put down, and finished it yesterday. The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf. My mother gave it to me at least a month ago, saying she couldn't put it down. I've had it in my car, my house and at work without turning the first page. I brought it to Sherwood with me on Monday and once I started, all I wanted to do was read. I couldn't put it down. I have a few other books I've been carrying around. Maybe I'll start one of them too.

I had a great time at Sherwood Forest on Monday. I got there a few hours before Kit. I walked down to the dock, book in hand. My Great Blue Heron was on the dock, waiting for me.

I wish I had a camera with a better optical zoom. I hope my camera breaks before the warranty expires so I can get a new one. It happened last time. Anyway, it's so beautiful there. It was just me on the dock with the sun shining and the river surrounded by what's left of the autumn leaves. I stayed for hours. The walk back to the cottage had me laughing. I didn't realize how steep the winding road was. I remembered the golf car not having enough power to get us up the hill and Kit having to push it with me steering. Kit got to the cottage and we had the soup I made that day, then I had to leave to get Emily and come home.

I've been here at Borders for 3 hours! I've had way too much caffeine. Whew.

I'm wearing my jeans and they're no longer uncomfortably tight. What a great feeling. Hopefully I can keep my good eating habits up as the holidays approach. Thanksgiving won't be hard. It's the in-between time before Christmas that's bad. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I can't wait to eat that meal. And spend time with the family, of course. I always bring home one of the turkey carcasses. My thank-you for being the carver. Last year I made a wonderful soup that starts with roasting the dry turkey bones. It was fabulous. I also made a recipe called Turkey Curry in a Hurry that was fantastic. It was only quick if you already had the roasted veggies. I'll make both recipes again.

It's noon and I should go. I still have a bunch of things to do today, and if I don't get started....

Hope your Thursday is a great one!

18 November 2009


Tomorrow I'll post. Promise. I'm heading to Borders in the morning for my latte with my laptop. I can't wait. Just thinking of that drink makes me happy.

16 November 2009

Good day, Sunshine

The sun is shining again. Two days in a row and I'm off work!

Guess what I woke up with? A hurting shoulder. I stopped by a platform overlooking the wetlands yesterday and did some stretches. That's all it took to get that old familiar hurt back. So strange. I guess I really can't think about swimming after all. Yesterday's walk was nice. It was more of a stroll. There was a huge great blue heron on a log that I watched for a long time. It never moved. It was just good to be outside. I'm going to do some strolling again when I'm done here. I wanted to rake, but with the shoulder, it's probably not a good idea.

I went to a play at Emily's school on Saturday night with my sister to see The Diary of Ann Frank. It was so well done, and so sad. It reminded me that I do like the theater. I had forgotten. I'm going to add that to my list of things to do.

Two things I'll talk about some other time:

I backed into my sister's car on Saturday night. It was dark, and she was parked in an unusual and unexpected spot that I couldn't see out of my rear-view mirror. I'm upset about it, but it will work out.

I met a guy last night who was really nice and we're both excited about it. Not much might come out of it, but I haven't even been on a date since my divorce, so this is big for me.

Stroll time. Then I'm making The Pioneer Woman's 'Carrot and Squash Soup with Curry.' I made it last week and it was amazing and I want more. Later on I'm meeting Kit at Sherwood and we're walking. Sound like a good day?

With that, I bid you adieu.

15 November 2009


I've been such a BAD blogger. What happened to my writing all the time? I miss getting comments but it's no wonder I don't since I'm hardly writing. It's ironic how life just cycles around. Sometimes you're busy and motivated and happy. Sometimes you've got time on your hands and no motivation to do anything with it. You can't think of what to do that would make you happy. That's kind of where I am right now, and for no good reason. I'm bored and unmotivated. Life with my teen is hard. I know that has a lot to do with my mood, but I feel like I should be able to handle that without letting it affect my whole mindset. The good news is that I love my job and I'm happy when I'm working. I don't know if a lot of people can say that. My house is neat so I don't feel bad about that. My knee is finally almost normal after 11 months of pain. My shoulder, which stopped me from swimming because of an over-use injury, is just fine. I've been eating healthy of weeks now, so I feel good about that. It sounds like I need to get out there and exercise. I used to love swimming. I've thought of doing it again, but I do so much driving for Emily to her friends (at least 20 miles away) and school (13 miles) that the thought of driving 18 miles to the pool has stopped me. Maybe I just need to DO it. Today, the sun is shining. It's supposed to be around 70 degrees after what seems like a week of steady rain and cold. When I finish this sentence, I'm getting dressed and going for a walk. I just talked myself into some motivation.

10 November 2009

Brought to you from Borders

It's the middle of a week-day and I'm hanging out at Borders. How's that for different? I had a big enough break at work that I didn't want to just stick around. I had my laptop in the car because I knew that I had a break, but didn't bring it into the salon because I hoped the break would be filled and I wouldn't need it. Alas, the break stayed. So, I'm at my happy place, but not with my happy drink. Today it's a decaf. Not the thrill that I get from my highly energy-charging latte, but that's OK. I have my laptop here, and that makes me happy. There's about 17 people in the Cafe. Some with laptops. Some studying. Some reading. Mostly everyone is alone. Alone in a crowd. I like that.

I spent most of my time here creating the e-vite for my holiday party. All that's left to do is add the addresses, which I'll have to do from home. I'm so glad I got that checked off my list. One stress out of the way.

Karen and I spent a nice day together yesterday. I suggested she take Emily out for a quick spin in her Corvette. Emily loved it! We left Emily at her boyfriend's, then headed out to Annapolis. We ate at an old deli on Main Street, then walked around. Afterward we went to the new Town Center and browsed the shops. We toured the models of the very expensive condos over the shops too. The only thing I bought all day was a magnetic peace sign for my car. For Emily. Thoughtful mom, huh? She noticed it right away when we picked her up. She was happy.

Well, I'm out of time. Work calls. Hope your Tuesday is a good one.

09 November 2009

The Secret to Looking Radiant

Mystery solved, I think.

I arrived at work on Friday and the first co-worker to see me said,"...you look so good! Your skin is glowing. Have you done something different?" I told her that I had the heat blasting in my car and it must have made my face red. She said it wasn't red, that it looked really good. Five minutes later, another co-worker said the same thing to me. She too asked it I'd done something different. Well, no. Not a thing. I changed my cleanser and toner that morning, but that couldn't have made such a noticeable difference. I told her that someone else had just said the same thing, and I had no idea why. Then my first client remarks, "Cheryl, you look just great today. Something about your skin...it looks so bright." I"m thinking, this is really weird. Maybe people are just noticing my new glasses for the first time? During the course of the day, at least 5-6 people told me how good I looked. One said maybe I'd just had a good night's sleep. It was a mystery. So, Saturday morning I'm putting on my makeup, trying to think if I'd done anything different the day before so I could replicate the look. Nope. Nothing different. I go to work and no one says I look good. I just look normal, like I do every day. Then I had a thought. An ah-ha moment. I always wear crew-neck tops. In cooler weather I wear mock-neck tops. All black. The day before I had worn a new black top with a lower, square-neck that showed more of my chest. Not cleavage, just more skin. I called over one of my co-workers who had complimented me the day before. I pulled down my collar and asked her if she thought that showing more skin the day before had been what made the difference. Lo and behold, that was exactly it. She said it lightened up my skin tone, brought out my face and elongated my neck. I showed it to someone else. They were amazed at the difference it made. I told one of my clients the story and she said, I was in the nail room last night and looked over at you and noticed how good you looked. Wow! Guess who's going out shopping for lower-necked knit tops?

The secret to looking radiant

Just a teaser. I really do have an answer, but it will have to wait till later. It's really surprising.

To be continued....

05 November 2009

Words but no title

Lots of bad news out there. The 3 college students who drowned in their car. Seems accidental. So sad. The rapist/killer and the growing number of bodies found at his house. The deadly shooting rampage in Ft. Hood, Texas. Twelve dead, 31 injured. So tragic. How could a soldier, a psychiatrist of all people, commit such a heinous crime?

We had a beautiful rainbow today. We pulled into a parking lot to take pictures. Rainbows are magical.

I did the driving this morning, then met my mother at Walmart. She was in the shopping center with Jess, her helper. Jess helped my mom into a scooter, then went back to my folk's house to cook for them. I hardly ever go to Walmart. I felt like walking every aisle, but my mom only wanted what was on her list. She barely tolerated my getting a few things. It's just as well. Walmart is the kind of place where you find everything you didn't know you needed. We didn't go to my favorite Chinese buffet in that shopping center because I still have my willpower. Yeah me :) I hung out with my mom at her house. I read the newspaper while I was there. I read a great article about a scanner used in correctional facilities called BOSS, which stands for Body Orifice Security Scanner. Get the picture? It's a great read.

I made tacos for Emily and her boyfriend for dinner. They were very happy. I had two myself. Not exactly diet food, but that's OK. I made brownies for dessert. I didn't eat any. Not even tempted.

Anyway, it was a good day. Nothing exciting, but happy. Hope it was the same in your part of the world.

02 November 2009

Why tight pants are a good thing

Why, you might ask, would I say that? Tight, uncomfortable pants are a constant reminder of why I'm trying to lose weight. Today is the start of my second week of eating lean. I have salmon and shrimp thawing out for dinner and lunches. The fridge is stocked with squash, green beans, raspberries, salads, cottage cheese and yogurt. The freezer has plenty of Lean Cuisines, veggies and fish. Emily picked out her own ice cream, a flavor that doesn't tempt me. I have to stay focused so I can be comfortable in my clothes again. I was starving when I was out today. I got a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a. I scraped all the coating off with my Starbucks stirrer and ate only the chicken and pickles, no roll. It was too spicy anyway.

I submitted (electronically) the financial aid packet for Emily's coming school year yesterday. This is sent to an outside service that evaluates applications and determines how much assistance can be offered to a family based on the school's overall budget. They in turn give their recommendation to the school. I had been so stressed out about it! It was a lot of work, but I was methodical and 'got 'er done'. Last night I composed a personal letter to the financial aid committee at Emily's school, explaining Emily's history of education at her public high school and the positive impact her current school has had on her life. I spoke about my life as a single mom, my commission-only job, the effects of the economy on my finances, etc. I groveled. It was a fine piece of writing, if I do say so myself. It made for a compelling story. I sent it to my ex for his opinion, and he said it was very well written. That was nice. Today we Fed Ex'd our individual personal letters, copies of tax returns, and other supporting documents to the school. The next step will be sending in our 2009 tax returns. Then we wait and see. Emily's school is $22K a year, plus books, uniforms, etc. Crazy, huh? The only reason she is able to attend is because of the very generous financial aid we were given by the school for this school year. Her dad and I split the balance. Because we applied for admission and aid after the process was closed last year, we were given the maximum amount allowable without going through the normal application process. This time we're doing the real thing, just like everyone else. I'm trying to be optimistic. I'm hoping we get even more help this year. Hope with me, OK?

In my last post I wrote that Emily's field hockey team won their first ever game last Monday night. It was also the first time they scored. Emily scored one goal and assisted on the second. They played their final game on Thursday night and won again, 1-0. Emily scored the winning goal! It was amazing. The happiness lasted all night long!

I had fun giving out goodies to the trick-or-treaters. We have lots of kids in my neighborhood, and lots of kids that get 'bussed in' from other areas. I was the weird one who gave out mini bags of microwave popcorn and packets of hot cocoa mix. Say what you will, but the kids LOVED it. Most every one of them exclaimed with glee, I got popcorn! or, can I have the cocoa? Judging from what I could see in their baskets, there wasn't much premium candy going on. When kids came up to the door and just stood there, I just stood there too, till they said trick-or-treat. Then I said, oh, that's what you're here for! Silly me. I really did have fun.

I went to the movies this afternoon to see This Is It. The Michael Jackson movie. I wanted to see An Education, but it wasn't playing at the theater near me. I loved the MJ movie. His death has saddened me in a way that it didn't when it happened. What a terrible loss. I'd highly recommend the movie.

Well, it's time for me to start preparing dinner. I'll be cooking the salmon outside on my Foreman grill so I don't stink up the house. The salmon will be for my lunch salads. We'll have shrimp, green beans and baked potatoes for dinner. I'll get everything ready to cook, then pick Emily up from her friend's house. It's a 40 mile round trip. That's the disadvantage of going to a school that's 20 minutes away. All the friends live at least 20 miles away. It's all worth it.

Hope your Monday's been a good one. Sorry this was so long.

29 October 2009


Hi, it's me. Long time...

I got involved in one of those Facebook applications. Time sucker. Don't ask why; I don't even enjoy it. Anyone watch LOST? Remember when they had to continually punch a code into the computer? That's what this is like. No purpose, no reward. Silly and mindless.

My couch and coffee table are covered with paperwork. I'm SO not good at this stuff. I have forms to fill out for financial aid for the 2009-2010 school year for Emily. I'm not good at it, I'm overwhelmed by it, and I need help. And I feel stupid. I'm probably making too big of a deal out of it. I have to estimate things for 2009 and for 2010. I have to go over this stuff with my ex to see if I've done it right. I really don't want to do that, but I need his help. It's not that my income has to be a secret...I don't care if he knows. I just don't like him to know that I don't understand stuff. Oh well.

My brother, sister-in-law, and I went to Longhorn Steakhouse with my mother for her 77th birthday. It was really nice. My mom ordered soup and salad for an appetizer. I know she likes to eat, but my mouth dropped open when she said yes, she understood it wasn't an appetizer but it's what she wanted. She also ordered an entree. My brother told her that was fine, she could take the leftovers home. He was right. And it was her birthday and why not? We do love to eat in our family. Since my mom's stroke, it's one of her only pleasures. I was good and had grilled chicken with grilled veggies. It was delicious. Her shrimp and lobster bisque soup was much better. I went to her house afterward and cut her hair. That job was long over-due!

Speaking of hair, remember the before and after pictures from my last post? I liked the silver in my client's hair. She wanted it tinted because she was about to start looking for a new job, and tinted hair does make you look younger and more job-marketable. I'm always very, very happy to have new clients. I'm even happier to have new clients that come on a regular basis for hair color. It's how I make my living.

Speaking of hair, again...Last week as I was behind the desk at work, my boss commented, "that haircut is just terrible", or something to that effect. I turned around to see who she was talking about, and it was the client I had just finished doing. She said it looked like she had a flying saucer on her head. I'm laughing as I'm writing this. It was a classic bowl cut. It's exactly what she wants, and not many people can do it perfectly. It was perfect, but she was right. My boss asked me if I ever suggested a different haircut to her, and I said no. My client loves the way I do it. I'm definitely going to rethink it, though. And suggest a change. It reminded me of that balloon boy aircraft. I guess some classics need to retire.

Speaking of hair, again...there's a haircut that so many clients get. A bob, shorter in the back and longer in the front. I think too many people have it. For me, it's so hard to cut and I don't enjoy it. I get a lot of satisfaction when it's done, but I suffer over it. The haircut looks fabulous on some, but just too trendy on others. That's all.

Emily's last game was postponed till tonight at 6:30. It looks like rain outside so I just turned on the Weather Channel. Look at all the snow! And rain! And tornadoes. I'm glad I'm on the east coast. It's 56 degrees and cloudy.

I have less than an hour before I leave. I'm gonna cook up some dinner, and clean up these papers. I'll worry about them later.

Hope your Thursday was a good one.

26 October 2009

Filler stuff

Where does the time go? That's a song, right?

I guess I just haven't been in the mood to write lately. It's temporary, I promise.

I've spent a lot of time with Kit and her family since her dad passed away on Friday. I've cleaned my house! I made some pitiful deviled eggs for my book club yesterday. I'm about to tackle some paperwork. Later I'll go to Em's field hockey game. Just routine stuff. I need a little excitement or motivation around here. Watch what you ask for, right?

I just watched The Pioneer Woman on the Bonnie Hunt show. That was exciting!

Till I write a real post, here's a before and after from work. The real before is when she came in with waist-length hair to donate to Locks For Love. I forgot to take a picture of that. Bummer.

22 October 2009

A chunky kind of day

I had a complete physical this morning just because it was time. I had my labs done on Monday. My total cholesterol numbers are too high and my bad cholesterol is bad. My vitamin D levels are bad too. I'll be taking meds for that and making diet and exercise changes for the cholesterol. Everything else was fine. I'll see a cardiologist for a nuclear stress test just because of family history. I'll have a venous doppler done on my legs because both knees/thighs/backs of knees have been bothering me and it feels vascular to me. My doctor doesn't think so, but OK'd the test. I want it for peace of mind. She said I should do the physical therapy that was ordered in the summer. I should.

I went to Karen's house afterward for a visit. We had her homemade chili. Yum. We sat out on her deck and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon and the view of the brightest most colorful tree around.

From there I went to St. Agnes hospital. I got a call from my friend Kit that her father had taken a sudden turn for the worse, and was in the hospital on oxygen and morphine. He has pneumonia, and they think he had a silent heart attack. They're just keeping him comfortable as his body shuts down. Most of Kit's family was at the hospital. It was sad seeing Mr. M like that, but I was glad to be there to see him and to share this time with the family. He was transported from the hospital to the nursing home he's been living in, and we all trekked over there. I was glad to see the wonderful home Kit had made out of his room. Every wall was decorated with family pictures and Catholic items. He was a deeply religious man and attended Mass every day. I've never been in the presence of someone about to die. It was peaceful, and I wasn't scared. I was also glad that he didn't pass in front of me! I don't imagine it will take long. This will be a very big loss for Kit's family as their father, at 92, was such a presence in all of their lives. I don't think I've ever seen a person as devoted to her father as Kit has been to hers. Not only did she visit him a few times a week, she shopped for him, took him out to eat all the time, transcribed his stories, decorated his room to his specifications, etc. All the while, she loved his company. She thought he was 'a riot'. And he was. I've been friends with Kit since we were in middle school, so I've known Mr. M for a long, long time. He's still with us, but he's already missed.

Emily went to a college fair at her old high school tonight with a friend. When she walked into the house afterward, the first thing she said was, I can't wait to move out of this place. I just looked at her. She said, you must have felt that way about going to college. I might have, but I would have worded it differently. Just saying.

Time to put this long day to rest and get ready for the next one.

20 October 2009

Today was flu shot day. I was lucky to get one. Emily was too. Neither one of us has ever had the flu; I think I'm immune. Yeah, I know. I'm playing with fire saying something like that. Maybe it's because despite how many people I come into contact with in my line of work, I've never had it? Who knows. I hope I keep on being lucky. Lots of kids at Emily's school are out sick. I don't know if it's the flu but they're being very vigilant. We just put up Purell dispensers at my salon. I hope we don't get the flu or pass it along.

On a brighter note, it's been a gorgeous day. It hit 70 sunny degrees. Tomorrow is supposed to be even better. It was a short work day for me. I was off early for a field hockey game that was canceled. I picked up Emily from school...no practice because so many kids are sick. I came home and sat on my porch in the sun. I'm appreciating every nice day that we have left. Do we really need winter?

18 October 2009

Rainy days and....

Rainy days and Sundays, but I'm not down. I've been out and about since 7 AM. Emily spent the night at a friend's, and rather than bring her the things she needs for today last night, I opted to do it this morning. Driving with wet leaves and rain and deer in the dark is scary to me. Emily and her field hockey team are working the soda taps at the Renaissance Fair today for their school fundraiser. They have to work the full shift, which I think is 10-7. It's cold and raining. I don't imagine the public will be flocking to this event. I brought her many layers and I hope she stays warm.

I've been at Panera's for the last few hours. I've seen it go from just a few people to a full house. I'm ready to hang out with my mom for a few hours.

Is it sunny and temperate anywhere today?

Happy Sunday!

...More on a busy day and I'm all wet

Not wet from the weather. Wet from the caramel latte that's soaked into my bra and underwear. From the latte that had a lid that I apparently didn't fasten quite right. That spilled down the front of my seated form before I realized what was happening. It was hot but didn't burn me. Nobody noticed. I had to decide, do I get up to get napkins and get noticed? Luckily my top is black. I held my black fleece in front of me. I blotted up some of the stuff. I'm sticky. I'll dry. Yuck.

I've been on the go. Two hours at Panera's. Many hours with my mom. My brother stopped by for a while to visit. It's his birthday today...45. The baby of the family. Mom and I decided to go out for a very late lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant. They moved to the space next door and the decor is amazing. I had Singapore Noodles that were SO spicy. And delicious. I brought my mom home, then had to decide what to do next. Go home for 2 1/2 hours, then drive back in that direction to pick Emily up from the Ren Festival? Hmmmm...I decided that I could easily fill up the time at the Borders at Annapolis Mall. And here I am.

It's a hopping place. It's great being around people. I like that. The guy with the hat keeps leaning across the table to kiss his girlfriend. Slowly I've watched the veil of clouds start to separate and I can actually see blue sky. There's an older couple to the right of me working on crosswords and drinking tea. Midshipmen are standing by the CD racks. It's as good a place as any to spend a few hours on a Sunday. I've texted with Emily a few times today. She's been outdoors selling sodas for 7 hours so far and she's been cold the whole time. At least she's cold with friends. Two hours more to go. I'd rather be sticky wet than cold any day.